View Full Version : The Mole

2007-12-06, 12:03 PM
This is an idea I had while reading the Mole Handbook (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=961599) over on the opt board. Thought I'd bring it over here for the playgrounders to kick around.

Here's the combo:

Burrow/Earth Glide + Pounce + Scorpion's Grasp feat (Sandstorm)

It's actually quite easy to get these special abilities. Here's a list (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=662842).

Charge and attack. If you hit, you get a free Grapple check thanks to Scorpion's Grasp. Once you've successfully Grappled your enemy, you can use your remaining attacks to make additional opposed Grapple checks. (You've always been able to do this, and it was even clarified in the Rules Compendium here (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4ex/20071009a)). One of the things you can do with an opposed Grapple check is move at half your speed, bringing your enemy with you. Do so, moving strait down. Once you're underground, make another opposed Grapple check to escape from the Grapple, or just continue to pummel your enemy.

Now that your enemy is underground, he doesn't have line of sight against anyone but you, protecting all of your fellow party members. And once you're no longer Grappling, he doesn't have line of sight against anyone at all. Unless he has some special way of moving, he's might be trapped there.

I'm honestly not sure if this combo works. Arguably, you need to have a burrow ability and not earth glide or something similar that allows you to just magically pass through stone, because when you Grapple it doesn't explicitly impart your ability to move through solid stone to your enemy. Depending upon how your burrow ability is worded, this might leave a tunnel that your enemy could then Climb out of - still taking him out of combat for at least one round, but not trapping him underground.

Although this method isn't very efficient (any well done melee build should be able to kill any single enemy with a full attack, especially if they charge the enemy with pounce) it's sounds like it'd be a lot of fun. It's also be a hilarious way to take out (or at least protect your friend from) a BBEG or other super strong enemy that you couldn't necessarily kill in one round.

I could also see this combo working in the other direction, with a flying build that Grapples an enemy, moves upwards, and then drops him (preferably on other enemies).

Critiques? Build Ideas? Other ways to abuse this?

2007-12-06, 12:12 PM
Well, there is one big problem with it. From the SRD:

Burrow: A creature with a burrow speed can tunnel through dirt, but not through rock unless the descriptive text says otherwise. Creatures cannot charge or run while burrowing. Most burrowing creatures do not leave behind tunnels other creatures can use (either because the material they tunnel through fills in behind them or because they do not actually dislocate any material when burrowing); see the individual creature descriptions for details.

So, you can't charge (unless maybe the earth glide ability says otherwise). However, if you can charge with earth glide, note that you don't leave a tunnel (usually), so you might run into problems trying to actually pull the enemy into the ground (if your DM rules that only you can actually do the earth gliding and therefore you can't drag someone with you).

Otherwise, the whole not leaving a tunnel thing is good - you just leave them there and earth glide away, and the enemy has to dig himself out before he suffocates.

EDIT: Ach, okay. I see now - you charge above, and then use your remaining attacks to move the grapple. I was imagining charge to the square next the enemy, attacking from the ground, and pulling him under.

2007-12-06, 12:12 PM
Charge above, sink below.

2007-12-06, 12:13 PM
I think you'd have trouble convincing DM's to allow you to "burrow" while grappling. Maybe if you took a -20 penalty kind of like the monsters that can hold something in a single limb without being so badly affected. I guess it depends on whether or not your burrowing was magical or if it required you to actually spend some time digging.

2007-12-06, 01:19 PM
I had a friend who would use summon monster to get about 3 hippogryphs (sp?) and have them grapple enemies, fly up real high and then drop them. I was the DM and I let him do it. Why? Well, in a previous session my players all were fighting a huge red dragon above the mouth of a giant volcano. Each player had a flying mount (a wyvern, a spider eater, and a giant eagle if I recall correctly) and my basic tactic was to have the dragon grapple them off their mounts, use his breath weapon, then dive for the lava where, since he was immune to fire, he would leave them and swim away. I believe they were under level 10 and they all survived though I can't remember how. So anyway, long story but the point was If a DM just did it why can't a player and vice versa? Same goes for burrowing, I can't think of a rule that says you can't so I would allow it but I would also use the strategy. Maybe with a blue dragon that grapples, breath weapon, burrows etc.

2007-12-06, 01:36 PM
I read this, and I got this vision of a blue dragon shooting up out of the sand, arcing in the air before falling upon a camel with his mouth open to chomp down before diving back in.

That being said, I want some of this.

2007-12-06, 04:08 PM
I think you'd have trouble convincing DM's to allow you to "burrow" while grappling. Maybe if you took a -20 penalty kind of like the monsters that can hold something in a single limb without being so badly affected. I guess it depends on whether or not your burrowing was magical or if it required you to actually spend some time digging.

Yeah, its definitely a DM call, and would depend on the context of your burrow ability and how you Grappled your enemy.

For example, a Druid could take the Scorpion's Grasp feat, Wildshape into anything with a burrow speed, make a bite attack, Grapple as a free action, and then make opposed Grapple checks to pull their enemy strait down. All of its claws would be free to burrow.

Similarly, the Thrall of Eltab PrC gets a gore attack from its head and a burrow speed.

There are also a variety of ways to get extra arms via PrC, spells, races, templates, etc. So you could Grapple with your main attacks and keep a few arms free to burrow while Grappled.

The Ashworm Dragoon (Sandstorm) can tunnel through sand or compact earth (but sadly not solid stone), and its your mount doing the tunneling for the both of you, not you. The PrC also grants mounted Pounce and bonus feats, so it looks like the best bet for this build right now.

Ideally, someone will read this and find a magic item or spell that creates a tunnel as you move that closes behind you.

Or your DM will allow your Earth Glide ability to apply to your opponent while you are Grappling them, just as it applies to your equipment. It fits with the fluff of the ability (think of Kitty Pryde or D.L. from Heroes) but its definitely a rules stretch.

2007-12-06, 04:25 PM
Would Earthglide not work for this?

Because a fair number of classes and PrC's get it.

Maybe not, since it doesn't specify you can take others with you through the earth.
EDIT: Wow, next time I guess I should read all of the post.